It’s not unusual that a band might want to hear your opinion of their new album. But how many of even the most stalwart of the indie combos want to hear what you might have to say about their new CD before you’ve even had a chance to listen to it?
Apparently, that’s not a problem for NYC indie rock eccentrics the Fiery Furnaces, who have invited their fans to do just that – submit a review of their upcoming album, “I’m Going Away,” without ever hearing it.
The duo hasn’t announced a cut-off date for submissions, but the album is currently slated for release on Chicago’s Thrill Jockey Records on Tuesday, July 21.
So sharpen your pencils and hunker down. Send your ‘deaf descriptions’ to: firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you need a bit of inspiration, here’s the review that I whipped up – complete with a self-serving reference to my band, Ramblin Jug Stompers:
THE FIERY FURNACES’ “I’m Going Away” (Thrill Jockey, 2009):
The sibling sizzle of Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger remains intact on the dynamic duo’s new album, “I’m Going Away,” but Fiery Furnaces fans expecting “Widow City, Part II” are certain to be disappointed. Of course anyone expecting FF to repeat themselves obviously aren’t real fans, anyway.
Fusing together the horn-fueled fury of the Sun Ra Arkestra with Shelby Lynne’s smolder, the ironically titled “The End Is Near” kicks off the band’s eighth album with a socially conscious cosmic-pop anthem that’s part bent-knee plea for forgiveness and part instruction manual for assembling the Nu-Matic Cushion A-45 high-back, swivel desk chair.
Fortunately, things get better after that. The Friedbergers’ kaleidoscopic musical vision fractures the uber-hipster faux-sophistication of Lord Buckley, the delicious, demented decadence of the Tiger Lillies, the laid-back but deadly back-porch-swing punch of Ramblin Jug Stompers, the precision scat of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross and the on-the-ledge instrumental inventiveness of Harry Partch.
Then FF gathers the shards togther and Crazy Glues (TM) ’em into a shiny but rain-soaked batch of a dozen songs guaranteed to send your iPod back to the 8-track era.
Lyrically, the hyper-literate FF approach reaches out to embrace (and sometimes tickle) many of the band’s most enduring influences. William Kennedy, Marcel Duchamp, Bootsy Collins, Margarite Duras and Jim Bouton are all referenced – and that’s just in “Keep Me in the Dark,” a minor-key ode to the fears that lurk in the shadows of urban drudgery.
FF have always been too wiley to walk anything other than the road less traveled and here they’re not afraid to dance into the heavy traffic of the middle of the road, either. While the whole album fearlessly veers into the eccentric and eclectic, there’s no bigger surprise here than the cover of the Average White Band’s classic, 1975 dance-floor favorite, “Cut the Cake.” They’ve fearlessly stripped away the funk – something akin to building a house without a foundation – but they’ve replaced the deep-dish groove with a twin theremin-mandolin riff that’s destined to move into your long-tern memory bank and stay there for months without ever paying rent.
Listen at your own risk, but listen.